DELAWARE RIVER HERITAGE TRAIL
Port Jervis, NY
Self guided tour approximately 2 miles starting at Fort Decker, 127 West Main Street, and ending at the Tri-State Rock.
From Hastings-on-Hudson. Saw Mill Parkway to US 87 over Tappan Zee Bridge. At about 39 miles pick up Route 17 heading northwest. At about 60 miles, just before the town of Middletown pick up US 84 heading west. Get off at Exit 1. Make a left turn and keep heading straight. You come to a stoplight intersection of US 209/US 6 south with NY 97/NY 42. Take NY 97/NY 42 north for 0.3 mile; blinking caution light; turn left onto West Main Street; go for 0.4 mile across the railroad tracks to a right on Old West Main. The 1793 stone house, Fort Decker, 126-133 West Main Street, and its small parking lot are on the corner.
History (source: Port Jervis website):
The design and construction of the trail is a result of the efforts of many organizations, agencies and individuals including the Minisink Valley Historical Society, the City of Port Jervis, the city's Department of Public Works, the Port Jervis Task Force on Tourism, the Orange County Delaware River Festival Committee, the Port Jervis Recreation Commission, Laurel Grove Cemetery Association, the Mayor's Council on Disabilities, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Lynne Wallace, Robert Eurich, William Clark, Doug Delorie, Jeanne Moore, Mike Falcone, Steve Padgett and Adam Hubbard.
The original trail was built in 1993 and a Community Investment grant in 1996 from Orange and Rockland Utilities allowed the Minisink Valley Historical Society to double its length, improve the markings and enhance the route to include all of the city's most important historic sites.
As you pass along East Main Street you are traveling along what many believe is the Old Mine Road, the first 100 mile road in American history. It was said to have been constructed by Dutch explorers as a way to get copper from mines near Pahaquarry, New Jersey to Kingston, or Esopus as it was then known, and back to Holland. In New York state, the road essentially follows State Route 209. In New Jersey, it follows County Route 517. Other historians believe the road was originally a series of Indian trails that were enhanced by continual use. The original center of town was at the location of the junction of Kingston Avenue and East Main Street.
The stone house at the trailhead was known as Fort Decker (914-856-2375; 127 Main St., Port Jervis, NY 12771). It was a Revolutionary War Site and an 18th century historic house. (June - September. Saturday, 1 - 4. As well as by appointment. Admission by donation.) It was built in 1760 and burned by Joseph Brant and his Indian raiders during a Revolutionary War raid in 1779. It is the museum of the Minisink Valley Historical Society and is open to the public Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. through October. The house was rebuilt in 1793 by Martinus Decker and served as a hotel and tavern during the years when the Delaware and Hudson Canal was being built. John B. Jervis, one of the canal's chief engineers and the man for whom Port Jervis is named, stayed here in the 1820s. After that the house served as a private residence until 1965 when MVHS bought it and developed it as a museum and center for its activities.
Trail (source: Port Jervis Website):
The trail begins at Fort Decker and proceeds to Ferry Street, then along River Road to Water Street. From Water Street it continues on to Pike Street where it turns left and then right onto King Street at the traffic light. It takes a right hand turn at Second Street and goes to the end of the street where it turns left onto the river dike and then into Riverside Park.
At Riverside Park the trail follows an old service road along the river until it swings up onto North Street and then proceeds along Chestnut Street to the western entrance of Laurel Grove Cemetery. There it follows Delaware Drive to Tri-States Rock at the junction of the Delaware and Neversink rivers and where the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania meet.
The trail then exits the cemetery along Neversink Road and the Neversink River onto East Main Street until you enter Sussex Street and then turn right at Broome Street, passing through Orange Square and continuing across Pike Street to Canal Street. At Canal Street it turns right for one block then left onto West Main Street. Follow the trail back to Fort Decker.
The trail is marked in both directions, is approximately 5 miles long and is marked with 2" x 6" orange rectangles painted on trees and utility poles. A single mark indicates the trail is straight ahead. Two marks indicate a direction change and three marks signify the end of the trail.
There is an entire area along the Delaware River starting at the end of Ferry Street.
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple) lots
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula nigra (river birch) lots
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut) 5/23/98
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) 5/23/98
Salix nigra (black willow)
Salix sp. (willow)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 5/23/98
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 5/23/98
Viburnum plicatum (double-file viburnum) planted at Fort Decker 5/23/98
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 5/23/98
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 5/23/98
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Echinocystis lobata (wild balsam apple)
Eupatorium sp. (Joe-Pye-weed)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) 5/23/98
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 5/23/98
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Narcissus sp. (daisies)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)
Penstemon sp. (foxglove)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal) 5/23/98
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed knotweed)
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel dock) 5/23/98
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Silene latifolia var. latifolia (white campion) 5/23/98
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 5/23/98
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadow rue)
Trifolium repens (white clover) 5/23/98
Urtica sp. (stinging nettle)
Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders) 5/23/98
Dactylis glomeratus (orchard grass)
Poa annua (annual blue grass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky blue grass)
Ferns and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)